Category Archives: Savory
If you know our dog, Link, and I – we have a love-hate relationship. When I say, “love-hate” I mean he loves to make me hate him. He’s a neurotic, anxiety-ridden, very vocal pain in the butt. Unfortunately, he’s part of the family. I am a bit worried about how he will handle things once the baby arrives which is why I am trying to make amends with him. Can you believe this? I’m actually trying to reason with my dog, a beagle.
In my attempts to reconcile my relationship (with my dog) I decided to whip up a batch of “kitchen cupboard cookies”, where I rummage through my cabinets to see what I can throw together. Link went crazy for these, to the point where it just about backfired as he sat in the kitchen and whined for a full hour while the treats cooled. Let’s hope he loved these enough to behave himself a bit.
Oat Flour + Almond Butter Dog Treats
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Makes about 3 Dozen Dog Biscuits
2 Cups of Rolled Oats
1 Cup of Organic Almond Butter
1 Free Range Egg
1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
½ Cup of Whole Milk
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon, ground
Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Give the parchment paper a nice even coat of cooking spray.
Place the rolled oats in a food processor and pulse until a fine oat flour has been produced. Add in the baking powder, give it a quick pulse and set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine the almond butter and egg and mix well. Pour half of the flour mixture into the almond butter and egg, as well as half of the milk and stir. Once combined, repeat with the other half of the flour mixture and milk. The dough will be thick.
On a well floured work surface roll out the dough to about a ¼-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the treats and place them on the cookie sheet.
Bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a cooling rack and allow them to thoroughly cool before giving to your furry friend.
Can you believe it’s already the middle of October? This month has just flown by. Don’t worry – you won’t find this girl complaining, that just means we’re that much closer to welcoming our baby girl into the world. If you could see the ear-to-ear grin I’m currently wearing you would understand.
Don’t be too surprised that I’ve decided to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon. How can you not find some way to sneak in this seasonal delight into a favorite dish when the local markets are practically placing them in your shopping cart? I fell victim to it. After a couple trips to the market and a few “are you smuggling a pumpkin under your shirt?” wise cracks, I picked up a few pumpkins and made some puree. Storing the puree in mason jars is probably one of the most genius thing I’ve read, it makes it so easy to have fresh organic pumpkin puree on hand to add to your classic dishes like cookies, pies and pasta.
After drooling over the pumpkin raviolis at my local market, I knew I wanted to incorporate this into a pasta dish rather than a traditional sweet dish such as bread or cookies – although I may have to make a loaf or two. Macaroni and Cheese is such a great classic dish that can really be transformed to fit your liking. My husband’s favorite is Lobster Mac and I have got to admit that it is pretty delicious. So, why not pumpkin macaroni and cheese? Hence this recipe. Adding the chipotle gave it the perfect spice to warm you up on a chilly October night – not that us Southern Californians know anything about chilly evenings in October, but I digress. Have a great weekend everybody!
Chipotle Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese
Makes 6 Generous Servings
4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
¼ Cup of Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup of Organic Chicken Stock
1 Cup of Organic Whole Milk
¼ teaspoon of Cayenne Powder
1 teaspoon of Black Pepper, freshly cracked
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
1 ½ Cups of Fresh Pumpkin Puree
2 Cups of Chipotle Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated (you should be able to find this at any specialty market.)
½ Cup of Irish Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated
16 ounces of Whole Wheat Elbow Pasta
Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs
Fresh Basil or Fresh Sage for garnish
In a large stockpot over a medium flame, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook until a nice tan roux has formed. Try not to let the roux burn.
Remove the stockpot from the heat and add in the chicken stock and milk. Place the stockpot back over the flame and allow it to simmer until thickened – about one minute.
Add the pumpkin puree and shredded cheeses while stirring constantly to evenly mix and melt. Mix in the spices: cayenne, pepper and salt along with the Dijon mustard. Continue to simmer and stir until desired thickness.
While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, cook the pasta as directed – approximately 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and place in a large mixing bowl. Gently fold the sauce into the pasta to evenly coat. Serve warm.
Note I have to say this was yummier the next day, I threw the leftovers in a baking dish and sprinkled the top with whole wheat Panko bread crumbs and baked it for about 15 minutes at 350°F – it was delicious!
I have been having way too much fun in other people’s kitchens lately. It’s so nice to see cooking from someone else’s perspective every now and again. Being invited into someone’s home and having them cook you a family recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation really warms the soul. This past week I enjoyed a great mid-Western favorite cooked by an old college friend.
While Kristin’s style of cooking comes from deeply rooted Mid-Western traditions, she has a flare for simple yet flavorful ingredients; and thanks to her Vietnamese hubby her vast array of spices only continues to expand. She took me in on Sunday and we chatted about her influences, family traditions, and her take on the beloved Chicken + Broccoli Divan …
How would you classify your style of cooking?
I’m not the greatest chef and am drawn to easy-to-follow recipes with as few ingredients and as little prep work as possible. I’m such a multi-tasker in life but in the kitchen it’s completely another story. While I tend to stay true to my roots I am influenced by Tien’s cooking. He cooks a lot more than I do and his take on his traditions are not only delicious but inspiring. We feed off each other’s traditions, I may make simple and hearty dishes but I’m always pulling spices from his world and vice versa.
What’s the back story behind this recipe?
It was my grandmother’s recipe. My mother used to cook it for us when we were kids. Our family always came together around food. Whether it was for birthdays, Holidays, or guests were in town somehow food was always tied in. Our family is a Midwestern, gravy, fat and potatoes kind of family and to this day these hearty home-made meals bring me back to my childhood.
How has this recipe changed over the years?
It’s really quite still the same dish but without the preservatives. I like to use fresh broccoli and cheese rather than frozen or bagged products. While I am health-conscious I still enjoy a hearty meal and know that moderation is key. Splurging every once in awhile is not a bad thing!
What is your stand on healthy eating?
I’m not opposed to it what-so-ever, in fact I agree with it. I completely understand that there are people out there with allergies and sensitive bodies but as of lately I feel it has become so commercialized – like it’s almost a trend. There is a fine line between being conscious of what you put in your body and being a follower. I feel that people are not properly educated on what substitutions to make and the whole commercialized health craze such as Protein Shakes, Juicing and Herbalife is so pushed on you. Most of these products are so processed yet they pride themselves on being healthy and I think there is such a huge misconception. This is why I like to cook with the basics, using real milk, cooking with fresh produce and eating organic when possible. It’s not that hard to live a healthy lifestyle and still make delicious hearty meals. Again, it’s all in moderation and plus I just don’t have the discipline to live such a bland and tasteless life.
Chicken + Broccoli Divan
Makes 6 Servings
6 Chicken Tenders
3 Organic Broccoli Heads
2 Cups of Chicken Cream Base (see ingredients below)
¼ Cup of Fresh Bread Crumbs
½ Cup of Mayonnaise
1 ½ Cups of Freshly Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
//Chicken Cream Base//
¾ Cup of Organic Chicken Stock
½ teaspoon of Onions, chopped
1 teaspoon of Garlic, minced
¼ Cup of Milk and ½ Cup of Milk
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Pinch of Black Pepper
1 Pinch of Parsley, freshly chopped
1 Pinch of Lemon Pepper
1 Pinch of Allspice
1 Pinch of Paprika
1/3 Cup of Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
Using a medium saucepan over a medium flame brown the onions and garlic in a couple tablespoons of the chicken stock until the onions are soft and translucent. Add in the remaining chicken stock and ¼ cup of milk and stir. Once it begins to bubble whisk in the salt, black pepper, fresh parsley, lemon pepper, allspice and paprika. Once that has begun to boil, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl combine the remaining ½ cup of milk and slowly add in the flour while constantly whisking to create a smooth consistency. Add the milk and flour mixture to the hot stock continuing to whisk to avoid clumping. Boil the cream base for about 3 minutes, while whisking to avoid the bottom from burning. Remove from heat and allow it to cool and thicken, this should yield about 2 cups.
While the cream base is thickening, boil the chicken tenders in a small stock pot for about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the water and place them in a small bowl and allow it to cool. Using a fork, or your hands, shred the chicken into smaller pieces and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Cut the broccoli heads into small florets and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl combine the mayonnaise, bread crumbs, cheddar cheese and chicken cream base – mix thoroughly.
Using 5 -7 ounce ramekins, prepare the dish in layers. First line the bottom of the ramekin with the shredded chicken. Next, layer in the broccoli florets followed by evenly spreading the cream base/cheese mixture on top of it. Lastly, top them off with a little extra shredded cheese.
Bake the ramekins for about 20 minutes or until the top of them is a nice golden color. Allow them to cool and garnish with extra breadcrumbs and rosemary, if desired.
A childhood rainy day favorite of mine has always been tomato soup. With all this wind and rain we have been having lately I felt compelled to do my take on this past time. While roasting the tomatoes may seem a bit time consuming, it adds a depth that rivals any canned soup. Taking simple steps such as this only adds dimension to a soup that many may consider bland. I, on the other hand, find nothing more comforting than a bowl of hot tomato soup.
I also cannot think of any item that marries with tomato soup as well as grilled cheese. I was at a toss up on whether I wanted to make some version of grilled cheese or make oyster crackers for the soup; I kind of met up somewhere in the middle. The Irish cheddar crisps are almost that of a deconstructed grilled cheese with the simplicity and size of an oyster cracker. The final result – I couldn’t be more pleased. It was fun playing around in the kitchen and recreating a childhood favorite. If you have the time I highly recommend it, you may be surprised with where your creativity takes you.
Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup
Inspired by Bite Sized
4 Large Heirloom Tomatoes
7 Cloves of Garlic
Fresh Thyme, whole sprigs
1 Cup of Onion, chopped
½ Cup of Grape Seed Oil plus 2 Tablespoons of Grape Seed Oil
3 Cans of Whole Tomatoes, with liquids
1 Cup of Vegetable Stock
1 Tablespoon of Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon of Red Pepper Flakes
¼ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Begin by roasting the heirloom tomatoes. To roast, slice the tomatoes in half and place them facing down in a roasting pan. Toss in five of the whole garlic cloves, ¼ cup of the chopped onions and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Coat with ½ cup of grape seed oil, salt, pepper and cover with aluminum foil. Roast the tomatoes for about 30 minutes.
Once the tomatoes have cooled, discard the thyme. Reserve the tomatoes and roasting liquids; set aside. Using the roasted garlic, combine with the remaining two cloves and chop.
In a large stockpot, heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and brown the garlic and the remaining onions. Combine the roasted tomatoes, roasting liquids, canned tomatoes, and vegetable stock and spices to the stockpot and bring to a boil. Once the soup has begun boiling reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup while slowly adding the heavy whipping cream in a slow and steady stream. Continue to puree until smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Irish Cheddar Crisps
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 ½ Cup of Irish Cheddar, grated
4 Tablespoons of Butter, softened
¾ Cup of Bread Flour, sifted
¼ Teaspoon of Onion Salt
Coarse Kosher Salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, onion salt and continue to mix until dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough out to about ⅛-inch thickness. Using a small round cookie cutter (I used a small circle fondant cutter), individually cut out small circular shapes. Transfer your cheese crisps to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spacing them about ½-inch apart from one another.
Bake the cheese crisps on the middle rack for about 12 minutes or just until the edges of the crisps begin to brown. Remove the cheese crisps and transfer to a cooling rack.
I may have spoke too soon in my last post; for as soon as the sunshine arrived – it left. We were hit with a little bit of wind and rain these past few days and those sweet frozen treats disappeared to the back of the freezer. Even though it seems that the minute the first raindrop hits the ground here in Los Angeles my emersion blender makes it’s way to the front of the cabinet, I decided to stray away from soup this weekend. I had been wanting to bake a tart for quite some time now and I figured now was better than ever.
If you ever feel the need to be inspired, visit your local farmer’s market. Every time I visit our farmer’s market I am not only inspired culinary but artistically as well. Each aisle boasts so many different colors, scents and flavors that I would never have guessed all of this was picked, plucked or grown so close to home. I usually end up leaving with way more than just fresh strawberries and locally hatched eggs.
Coming home with fresh and local produce finalized my tart making decision and with the chill outside the thought of warm roasted beets had my toes thawing. I had picked up an array of beets at the farmer’s market but was extra excited about the candy cane beets. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with beets, cheese and a little sage so I went with what I knew. The flaky pastry crust with the warm cheese filing, roasted beets and a little salt from the fried sage was exactly what I needed to warm this frost bitten California girl.
Roasted Beet Root+ Fried Sage Tart
1 Cup Bread Flour, sifted
1 ½ Cup All Purpose Flour, sifted
1 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon of Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, chilled
¼ Cup Ice Water
4 Candy Cane Beets, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoons White Truffle Oil
Salt and Pepper
15 Ounces Ricotta Cheese, Whole Milk
4 Ounces of Herbed Goat Cheese
3 Large Egg Yolks
¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
½ Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
½ Lemon, zest only
½ Tablespoon of Garlic, minced
½ Tablespoon of Rosemary, freshly chopped
½ Tablespoon of Sage, freshly chopped
1 Bunch of Sage Leaves
¼ Cup of All Purpose Flour
½ Cup of Vegetable Oil
Using a stand mixer, combine the bread flour, all-purpose flour, salt, sugar and butter. Mix on medium as you slowly add a steady stream of ice water until you reach a nice stiff texture. You may need more or less ice water depending on the dough. Once the dough is smooth, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and flatten. Refrigerate for at least a half an hour.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about ⅛-inch thick. Carefully lay the dough over your baking pan pressing down the dough to line the pan. Trim away any excess dough and prick the dough with a fork. Refrigerate for another half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the thinly sliced beets with the truffle oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay the beets on a baking sheet and roast just until soft, about 8 minutes. Set aside.
Reduce the oven to 350°F. Using a food processer blend the ricotta, egg yolks, flour, butter, lemon zest and spices until thoroughly mixed but not whipped. Set aside.
Bake the pastry dough in the oven for about 10 minutes on the middle rack; then pour in the ricotta filling and top it with the beets. Roast the tart for another 20 minutes or until the pastry is a nice golden brown and the beets are tender. Transfer the tart to a cooling rack.
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over a medium to high flame. Lightly dip each sage leaf in the flour, shaking off any excess. Once the oil begins to ripple, turn down the flame to medium and drop in 5 or 6 sage leaves at a time. Allow the leaves to fry for only 8 to 10 seconds and transfer them to a towel lined plate. Give a light dusting of sea salt and garnish the tarts with the sage leaves.
I have been learning how amazing simple food is. New age chefs are constantly trying to find innovative ways to create complex dishes. While many of the dishes are in fact delicious nothing beats the flavors of simple food. Lately I found myself drawn towards simplicity when searching for new recipe ideas. Take an egg for example; it is one the world’s simplest ingredients and yet nothing beats the taste of a freshly cracked egg. You can doll it up and cover with other flavors but those flavors need the simplicity of the egg to reach their full potential – the egg does not.
While the new age gastronomical side of cooking excites me, it doesn’t fulfill me.
I try and keep this mindset while cooking; the old adage holds true – less really is more. So if you find that lately my recipes may be a lackluster; create one of them and you will find that they are entirely the opposite. I may not be playing around with maltodextrin but I am playing around with beautiful, simple flavors and those simple flavors really are more.
Sunny Side Up Sea Salt + Vinegar Kale Chips
Inspired by Foodess
8 Ounces of Fresh Kale, chopped
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl containing the kale leaves, drizzle the olive oil and toss, using your hands to help evenly coat the leaves. Next drizzle the vinegar and repeat the process of tossing using your hands to help evenly coat the leaves once more.
In a parchment paper lined baking sheet, evenly spread out the kale leaves and give a light dusting of the sea salt. Bake the leaves for about 20 minutes, rotating the leaves every 5 minutes or so to ensure even baking.
Remove the chips from the oven and give one more dusting of sea salt and let cool. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to enjoy.
Using a small frying pan, cook the eggs sunny side up. Divvy up the kale chips and top with the sunny side up egg.
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